I like Valentine’s Day, but I think mostly because it is close to my birthday… and I LOVE my birthday. I don’t have any big plans for today. I need to finish up a lot of work, go for a run, and then maybe meet some fun friends for a casual dinner. My usual Tuesday routine. I might treat myself to a special Starbucks drink this afternoon…
Travis and I don’t do much for Valentine’s Day. I don’t need any silly gifts (or expensive ones, for that matter) and Travis said he would have a heart attack if I sent a singing telgram to his work… so that spoils my one good idea. ha!
I don’t think today needs to be a day for romantic gestures. It is too much pressure. I’m happy just acknowledging all of the big and small loves in my life…
I’ve loved cake ever since my first birthday.
What now seems like a very long time ago, I made a list of 30 things that I wanted to accomplish before turning 30. I didn’t get all of the items completed, so I converted it to a 30 WHILE 30 list. I still haven’t gotten all of the items checked off, so I am turning it into an ongoing project. I’ll carry the list over each year, crossing off the things I finish and adding new items to fill out the list to match my birthday number — this year, 31!
It may get a bit unmanageable when I turn 100, but until then, I’ll keep it up…
31 things to do while 31:
♥ Visit the Museum of the City of New York.
♥ Experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans!
♥ Eat the Moules Frites at Balthazar.
♥ Learn to tell a really funny, family-friendly joke.
♥ Stop biting my nails. For good.
♥ Redesign the Swap-bot homepage.
♥ Get super-comfortable using our DSLR camera.
♥ Be noticeably sweeter to my husband.
♥ Visit The Cloisters.
♥ Lose 15 pounds. (Isn’t this on everyone’s list?)
♥ Make marinara sauce from scratch.
♥ Visit the Bronx Zoo.
♥ Make Crusher a super-cute Halloween costume.
♥ Try to live in the moment.
Start taking a weekly yoga class. Changing this to: Cross train once a week.
♥ Figure out how to style my hair in loose waves/curls.
♥ Do all of my mending!
♥ Make cupcakes with some sort of filling.
♥ Reduce my internal negativity.
♥ Call my brothers and sister-in-law every week (or at least more frequently).
♥ Read a novel. (Maybe this one?)
♥ Promote peace.
♥ Get a unicorn face painting!
♥ Run a sub-2-hour half marathon. (This may be impossible.)
♥ Set up an online Swap-bot merch store.
♥ Eat less candy.
♥ Run the San Diego Marathon. For the second time.
♥ Attend a taping of the Wendy Williams Show.
♥ Visit the New York Transit Museum.
♥ Bake a loaf of bread from scratch.
♥ Become an adult.
This list could get really long!
Take an overnight trip with my husband that is not at a relative’s house.
Take my donation pile to the thrift store. Housing Works got a big pile!
Buy a really beautiful and practical dress. Thank you Rebecca Taylor!
Go to dinner at Al Di La.
Run the NYC marathon!
Watch every episode of Tosh.0.
Make blueberry pancakes.
Get the Florence + The Machine album on vinyl.
Watch Meet Me in St. Louis again.
Drive upstate to see the autumn foliage.
Visit all five boroughs in NYC (should happen during the marathon).
Get a new laptop. Love my Air!
Reduce the amount of time I spend on Facebook. Done, except for today.
Buy awesome, new, flattering jeans. These from J.Crew.
Force Travis to watch Star Trek: Generations with me. He loved it.
What do you think? What else should I add to my list?
While in California I was surprised by an early birthday party from my sweet in-laws. I loved the gifts I received so much, that I wanted to tell you about them… just in case you are in the market for any of these goodies…
My sister-in-law, Chelsea, gave me a collection of gifts inspired by my love for Team in Training purple, and which also happen to line up with the February’s amethyst birthstone color:
I recommend all of these items — they are my new favorites!
I sure got lucky when I married into the Johnson family… and for many more reasons than just lovely birthday gifts. xoxo
This may come as a shock, but I still feel like I have more to share from Alt Summit. With so much travel planned this year, I have sort of been hopping from one thing to the next without totally processing each experience… but my intention is to be more mindful about recording my thoughts and discoveries.
This beautiful photo of business cards collected at Alt was taken by Ez of Creature Comforts. Creature Comforts is one of my all-time favorite blogs — filled with beautiful design and DIY projects — and it was a thrill to meet Ez at the Wednesday night dinner at Alt. It was even more of a thrill to see my business card pack in her round-up. Mine is the pink envelope with RACHEL on it. I put together my business cards for this blog, Swap-bot, and Ace Dept in the envelope instead of trying to create one complicated card that covered all three sites. I hope I didn’t confuse people too much…
I’ve already shared quite a few links from the conference, but I have more! I recommend checking out these inspiring websites:
There are so many talented people in the world, it can be intimidating. But don’t fret, there is room for all of us!
It was confusing to walk out of the airport last Friday into the perfect sunshine of California after being in snowy Utah and dreary, grey New York. It was a welcome confusion, however. California is nearly always sunny, and nearly always fun.
The reason for the trip was the Tinkerbell Half Marathon that Chelsea and I ran on Sunday, but we also made sure to spend lots of time visiting with family and friends. (Unfortunately, I managed to take more photos of palm trees than I did of Travis’ sweet grandma, aunt, and uncles. boo.)
Travis, Chelsea, and I stayed for the first two nights of the trip at the actually-pretty-swanky DisneyLand Hotel so that we would be within walking distance of the race start and the expo, where we picked up our race numbers and t-shirts. The expo was fun, with food and clothing vendors, but it wasn’t quite as extensive as I had anticipated. Of course, we picked up a few souvenirs! (Thanks, Brad & June!)
The morning of the race, Chelsea and I woke up at 3:30 am! Early, but it wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it would be. I had coffee and a Luna granola bar before we headed over to the race start. The starting area was very well organized, with plenty of porta-potties and an easy bag check area. We were in our corral at the starting line before we knew it!
I was amazed that 12,000 people ran the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. That is a lot of people!! Runners were stretched out as far as we could see in front and behind us at the start. Most were wearing costumes, so Chelsea and I actually looked quite tame in our hot pink shirts, sparkly headbands, and running skirts.
After a few fireworks, the gun sounded at 5:45 am, and we were off!
The race started in the Disneyland Hotel parking lot, then we ran through Disneyland backlots and then right through the theme park, down Main Street USA, under the castle, and around through Adventureland. We stopped to take photos with a few characters along the way. We continued the race through the streets of Anaheim, through Downtown Disney, and then through the California Adventure park before ending back where we started. The Johnsons were out cheering us on in four separate spots — June even made a sign! — and they said we were smiling the whole time. It was a very fun, flat, easy course.
Now, it is considered slightly bad form to ask a runner their time when they complete a race since everyone’s speed is so personal, but I am happy to report that Chelsea and I came in at 2 hours 38 minutes. I am actually impressed! Disney races are known for being very leisurely and overall much slower than other races, plus we stopped for many photos and even waited in line for a few, so our time was actually much faster than I was expecting. Chelsea is completely strong and had no problem finishing her longest run ever. I am so proud!!
The day after our big race, we headed out early once again to spend a tourist day at Disneyland with Travis and our friend, Kristen. We rode all of the rides (my favorites are Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, and California Screamin’) and ate our fair share of treats, like churros and cotton candy. A day walking around theme parks may not be the optimal activity after completing a half marathon, but I actually felt quite good. Disneyland is always a fun time.
What a great weekend! What a great trip. The weather in California was amazing and my strong, sweet, enthusiastic sister-in-law and I ran 13.1 miles in and around DisneyLand. Just for fun. And because we can. We had an awesome time.
I have a lot more that I want to share about the trip, but for now I feel a little sad that it is over. I want to reiterate that I don’t run because I think it is important, or because I am good at it, or because I like to tell people how far I can go… I do it because it is fun and it teaches me a lot about myself. I recommend it. We don’t have a ton of opportunities as adults to have exhilarating/special/totally-fun experiences, but training for and running road races is one sure way to create one of those life-is-REALLY-good days for yourself. Chelsea & I shared one of those days on Sunday.
You know when you are watching Law & Order and there is that unbelievably lazy or prejudiced cop or prosecutor who just wants to close a case and so they hastily pin a crime on someone without sufficient evidence? I always thought those were dramatic exaggerations… who could ever be ok with knowingly putting an innocent person in jail?!
Turns out… lazy, stupid people are real… and some of them work in our justice system.
West of Memphis is a documentary about the West Memphis Three, three teenage boys who were accused, convicted, and sentenced to death row for killing three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas in 1993. I don’t want to tell the whole story, but basically the teens were completely innocent. The witnesses against them consisted of a bogus “satanic” expert, an unlicensed medical examiner, and a prosecutor who manufactured evidence. The boys spent 18 years in prison while devoted supporters around the world worked to prove their innocence.
Many parts of the film (which was produced by Peter Jackson, btw) made me uneasy and the entire thing was heartbreaking, but it was also eye-opening and ultimately hopeful. I recommend it.
So, Pantone (the authority on color standards) announced that the color of 2012 is tangerine tango. Tangerine tango is a reddish orange and it is basically my least favorite color. BUT, in an effort to be more adventurous and open-minded, I thought I’d entertain the possibility of maybe growing to like the vibrant hue.
I searched around for a few acceptable uses of tangerine tango in fashion:
I don’t know… I’m still not sure I can pull off a deep, bright orange… even in accessories. How about you?
Will you incorporate tangerine tango into your wardrobe?
I’ve already written a lot about my trip to Alt Summit last week (you can read even more about it here), but I still had to share this photo of me and author, Margaret Atwood, that was taken in Park City on Saturday.
By the end of the day on Friday I was exhausted. After being totally “on” for two and half days of conference going, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to follow through with my plans to head up to Park City on early Saturday morning… but man, am I glad I did! The road trip up the mountain to the home of the Sundance Film Festival was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.
I stumbled on Margaret Atwood signing books at Dolly’s Bookstore on Park City’s main street. I was sort of blown away. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of my very favorite books — a futuristic story with a strong, central, female character long before the days of The Hunger Games — and I plan to read ALL of her fiction. So, I purchased The Blind Assassin and got in line to have it signed. Atwood was lovely and kind and didn’t even seem too annoyed when I asked for a photo. I am impressed by her seemingly grueling speaking and promotional schedule. She was in Park City because her non-fiction book, Payback, had been adapted into a film being premiered at Sundance.
Sundance proved to be an art adventure in more ways than one. I did indeed see a film (which I hope to write about in its own devoted post) and I also ran into this Banksy mural on the side of an ice cream shop…
Very cool. I was told that Bansky made the art while he was in Park City for Sundance when his film Exit Through the Gift Shop premiered in 2010. The store owner put the protective glass and metal bars around the piece after poachers tried to steal it. I think Banksy is trying to say something about how documentary filmakers make an adverse impact even when they are trying to be helpful… what do you think?
Oh, and did I mention that the whole time we were wandering up and down Park City’s main street, it was pouring snow? It was basically a blizzard and apparently the highways had to be closed later in the evening! I was stomping through mounds of snow and trying not to fall on my face in front of movie stars and paparazzi. (BTW: the only stars, besides Atwood, that I saw were Will.I.Am and Robin Weigert, from Deadwood.) Thankfully, I was wearing two items that made the snowy trek totally possible: my No.6 store clog boots and my Brooklyn Industries puffy coat. Both performed wonderfully! I recommend them.
Also, I posed with a moose: